Romania's Bran Castle © Todor Bozhinov
Characterised by dark forest, medieval villages, and gothic castles, Romania is a mesmerising destination in the heart of central Europe. Its seven UNESCO-listed monuments, magnificent landscapes, as well as a vibrant culture are just some of the ingredients that make Romania an unforgettable adventure.
The country has slowly emerged from the effects of repression under communism, and is rapidly regaining its identity as a popular tourist destination. Exploring Romania is certainly rewarding, with the names of attractions alone evoking a certain charm. Who could resist discovering more about mysterious Transylvania, the literary home of mythical monsters?
The country's diverse geography includes mountains, rolling hills and rural farmlands, as well as white sandy beaches and lavish resorts along the Black Sea Coast. Dotting the natural landscape are rustic villages where local people live much as they have done for the past 100 years. There is an abundance of religious architecture â€' including the exquisitely painted monasteries of Bucovina â€' and many of Romania's cities are bursting with history. The capital, Bucharest, is reinventing itself, its damaged architecture slowly being restored to its original glory. It has elegant restaurants, a revitalised nightlife and cultural attractions that are becoming integral to its new image.
Romania's mix of quaint medieval towns and castles, drab cities striving for Western modernism, and timeless rural landscapes make it a dream destination. Romantics and history buffs in particular will be pleased with what they encounter; the country has one foot firmly placed in the past, while the other is stretching forward in an effort to keep up with the progress of the modern world.